US 7975033 B2
A system and method for sharing network resources; the system comprising: (1) at least one network switch; (2) a plurality of computing devices, where the computing device comprises (i) at least one network connection; (ii) a plurality of processing nodes; and (iii) at least one storage device containing software for (a) initializing and maintaining a plurality of top-layer virtual local area networks (VLANs), (b) initializing and maintaining a plurality of client VLANs; and (c) using an empty VLAN as a virtual wire between the client VLAN and a shared network resource.
1. A method for sharing network resources, the method comprising:
(1) initializing and maintaining a management local area network (MLAN);
(2) initializing and maintaining a plurality of top-layer virtual local area networks (VLANs);
(3) initializing and maintaining a plurality of client VLANs containing a plurality of network resources; and
(4) using an empty VLAN that is not allocated for external traffic as a virtual wire between a client VLAN and a network resource shared between a plurality of client VLANs;
wherein a plurality of the network resources are virtual resources allocated on at least one networkable computing device, and the step of initializing and maintaining a plurality of client VLANs comprises creating an ethernet device without IP address and routing information on a network resource so that the networkable computing device does not see or respond to the contents of incoming packets.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. The method of
8. The method of
9. The method of
(1) adding a virtual port to a virtual firewall;
(2) mapping the virtual port in a network address table within the virtual firewall; and
(3) connecting the virtual port to one end of the empty VLAN.
10. The method of
(1) preregistering MAC addresses for the client VLAN, wherein when each virtual resource is initialized, an assigned MAC address is taken off a stack of the preregistered MAC addresses; and
(2) initializing a virtual system on any storage device of any computing device in a system capable of implementing the method, transparent to the user.
11. The method of
12. A system for sharing network resources, the system comprising:
(1) at least one network switch;
(2) a plurality of computing devices, the computing device comprising:
(i) at least one network connection;
(ii) a plurality of processing nodes; and
(iii) at least one storage device containing software for
a. initializing and maintaining a plurality of top-layer virtual local area networks (VLANs),
b. initializing and maintaining a plurality of client VLANs containing a plurality of network resources; and
c. using an empty VLAN that is not allocated for external traffic as a virtual wire between the client VLAN and a shared network resource;
wherein a plurality of the network resources are virtual resources allocated on at least one of the networkable computing devices, and the initializing and maintaining a plurality of client VLANs comprises creating an ethernet device without IP address and routing information on a network resource so that the networkable computing device does not see or respond to the contents of incoming packets.
13. The system of
14. The system of
15. The system of
16. The system of
17. The system of
(1) dynamically adding a virtual port to a virtual firewall;
(2) mapping the port in a network address table within the virtual firewall; and
(3) connecting the virtual port to one end of the empty VLAN.
18. The system of
19. The system of
20. The system of
21. The system of
Traditionally, clients of a data center are required to buy or rent physical servers, switches, and storage arrays to put into data centers to house items such as web applications, databases, voip servers, data servers, etc. This can be extremely costly for small businesses which may only need to run a small web application such as a storefront or a payroll application. Alternatively, the same client can rent web space on a database and web server, but is often limited to what can be done with it, number of users or databases that can be contained within, or how much traffic it can receive.
What is needed is a system where a client may purchase CPU cycles, storage, and network resources “a la carte,” being able to obtain only what is required by their business, no more, no less. It would be beneficial to the client to be able to purchase these resources on the fly, as needed, without having to leave the comfort of the office and having them work automatically. There would be nothing to hookup, nor anything to configure so that hardware works with one another. In addition to fully-functional servers, clients may lease shared resources and have them integrate with existing infrastructures seamlessly.
In the field metropolitan area networks (MANs), a system is used to isolate users into virtual local area networks, or VLANs. Recently, the idea of encapsulating a VLAN inside another VLAN has been introduced simply to be able to house more users. While before network engineers were limited to 256 VLANs on most equipment, they may now be able to use 256×256 separate VLANs.
What is described herein is using the concepts of VLANs and virtualization on a large pooled system to be able to dynamically allocate network resources to users, as well as bridge and share network resources.
Herein, the term “computing device” refers to any electronic device with a processor and means for data storage. Used herein, the term “network connection” refers to any means to allow a plurality of computing devices to communicate. Further, the term “trunked” used herein refers to programmatically relating multiple network connections to each other to create redundancy and greater bandwidth in a single logical connection. The term “network packets” refers to a formatted message transmitted over a network. The term “hardware resource” refers to a networkable computing device. The term “virtual resource” refers to an allocation on a networkable computing device which refers to a virtual representation of a computing device or a software application, such as a database. Used herein, the term “management local area network”, sometimes referred to as a “MLAN”, refers to a LAN containing hardware or virtual resources used exclusively for the initialization, configuration, and maintenance of other LANs. Used herein, the term “data center” refers to a central storage complex containing a multitude of servers and network routing hardware. A “traditional data center” is a data center absent of virtualization. The term “virtual firewall” refers to a virtual implementation of a firewall with a virtual ethernet port. Used herein, the term, “maintaining” refers to keeping a network resource functioning.
Disclosed herein is a system, method and computer program product for initializing and maintaining a series of virtual local area networks (VLANs) contained in a clustered computer system to replace a traditional data center. A physical network contains a management local area network (MLAN) and numerous client VLANs nested within a top-level VLAN. The MLAN contains at least a physical or virtual firewall. Each client VLAN contains a virtual firewall as well as a number of physical hardware machines and virtual machines maintained by the clustered system. The client VLAN appears as a normal subnet to the user. A network administrator is able to create, change, move, and delete virtual resources contained in a client VLAN dynamically and remotely.
The system itself connects a plurality of computer systems as a clustered system through a switched fabric communications link, such as a switch fabric communications link sold under the name INFINIBAND®. All storage devices in the system are clustered to create a distributed file system, which makes the drives appear to be a giant pool of space in which any particular virtual machine may be contained anywhere within.
Also described herein is a method for sharing a network resource, physical or virtual, between a plurality of client VLANs. The shared resource may be contained in one of the client VLANs, or in a separate top-level VLAN.
On bootup, each storage node 101 contacts each of the other storage nodes to discover whether or not any of them has started the boot process of creating a management firewall 2101 of
The management console 2102 has many of the same properties as the firewall in system 100. While in the preferred embodiment it is run on the storage nodes 101 as a virtual machine, it can likewise be a physical machine. It is started up at the same time as the firewall/router cluster and can also be deployed in a cluster format.
In the preferred embodiment, the boot server contains a tftp server, an NFS server, a PXE boot service and a preconfigured kernel image. This image will have a runtime environment for the local interconnect (INFINIBAND®, trunked ethernet or other similar high speed interconnect) and the ability to mount the clustered file system that exists across the storage nodes 101. The processing nodes 103 then contact the management console 2102 for initial settings such as an IP address and host name, for example. The clustered file system is mounted and the processing nodes 103 boot in a normal fashion. Once startup is complete the processing nodes 103 contact the management console 2102 and indicate that they are ready to take a load of virtual machines to host for clients.
Once the processing nodes 103 have begun to activate, the management console 2102 gets a list of virtual machines that need to be started up by the processing nodes 103 from its datasource. The management console 2102 then begins to start virtual machines on processing nodes 103 in a weighted round robin fashion. Processing nodes 103 are assigned to groups based on their capabilities and architecture; for example, 64-bit processing nodes would be associated as a group. There is a server mask for each virtual machine that assigns it to a particular processing node group. This is both to comply with per-processor licensing issues and to ensure that virtual servers with particular hardware, redundancy or connectivity requirements can be met by the appropriate physical machine. During the startup process management console 2102 may even initiate a delay if more virtual machines exist than the bank of processing nodes 103 can run. After a predetermined interval, if this imbalance is not corrected, a warning system will be started to alert human operators of the lack of server resources. As the virtual machines are assigned to physical servers, each physical server reports CPU and memory usage to the management console 2102 and these figures are used as selection mechanisms to ensure that processor and memory loads are evenly distributed across all physical nodes. Even after the physical layer is booted, the processing nodes 103 continue to report CPU and memory usage to the management console 2102 at regular intervals.
The virtual servers undergo a normal startup process themselves. Once a command to start a virtual server is issued, (either by a system-wide startup, client start command or other system need) the management console 2102 takes the start request and queries the datasource for available processing nodes. Once one is selected by the mechanism mentioned above; that virtual server creates an ethernet device that is attached to either the top layer VLAN or the Q-in-Q nested VLAN 2310 that the virtual server connects to. Unlike normal ethernet devices, this VLAN device is not given an IP address or any routing information. The physical server itself does not respond and actually does not see any packets it receives from this interface. The physical device is instead mapped directly to a virtual one, giving the virtual machine access to a completely separate network than the physical machine exists on. After the appropriate network devices are added to a processing node, the management console 2102 then queries its datasource and connects to the client's hidden firewall. This firewall, as described later in reference to
When a new client is added, they are given a number of external IPs and a unique subnet of their network. Every possible IP of the subnet is statically assigned to a MAC address that may or may not be used. A client VLAN 2310 is created and the first address of the subnet is assigned to the client VLAN's firewall 2311. The firewall contains a DHCP table that is created when the firewall is initialized to hold the mappings of the preregistered MAC addresses to IPs so that the IP is known as machines are added. The client is given a gateway 2001 configured to deliver the client's network packets directly to the virtual firewall 2311 through an IPSEC tunnel. In addition, network packets of all external traffic are routed directly to the client's virtual firewall 2311. Virtual firewall 2311 has one port connected to external port 2317 which receives external traffic through network switch 205 b, which is equivalent to network switch 105 b. Traffic from the client through the IPSEC tunnel to the client's personal VLAN 5310 a is shown as a dotted line in
The last address of the subnet is assigned as the management console 2102. The management console 2102 is connected to main firewall 2101 in MLAN 2100 and, in some embodiments, is reached through the optional port of the client firewall. From there, the client may view network settings and add machines 2312-2315. The client is able to create and be charged for virtual machines on their client VLAN through the management console 2102 remotely. The client is capable of adding 253 virtual machines. The virtual machines may be just about any kind of machine, such as a Windows or Linux web server, a voice-over-IP server, etc. After a machine is chosen, a MAC address is assigned from the client firewall 2311 and a template image corresponding to the machine from a storage node 101 is taken and initialized in storage depending on the kind of storage system the client has chosen (redundant storage nodes 101, or non-redundant storage nodes 102). From there, the management console 2102 adds the machine to the list of machines that need to be ran. The next processing node 103 that inquires on tasks that need to be run is assigned the machine. If it is the first machine run on that particular client VLAN, it starts up a virtual listening port for that VLAN. Once the virtual machine is connected to the VLAN, the firewall looks at its MAC address and assigns it its preconfigured IP address from the DHCP table.
The client is able to use VNC or remote desktop to login to the newly created virtual machine and see the user API/GUI as if they were sitting in front of a physical machine with the same image. From there the user is allowed to do anything that can be normally done on a physical machine, completely abstracted from the virtualization of the machine or the fact that it is contained in a VLAN ran on system 100 in a distant data center. To the user, virtual machines 2312-2315 appear to be like any other machine contained on a traditional network subnet.
The client is also able to add a physical machine to their subnet. In the preferred embodiment, the switches natively support Q-in-Q double tagging, which allows for routing double tagged network packets to physical machines out of the box. In other embodiments, the nested client VLAN is turned into another top-layer VLAN to allow for physical machines on the VLAN.
Clients are able to share resources either between their client VLANs, or in a shared resources network such as resources 2202-2205 in VLAN 2200. In some embodiments, clients are able to connect to these resources by setting up the optional port on their client firewall 2311 to connect to the IP of the selected shared resource. An empty VLAN is created between the ports of both firewalls on both sides as a “virtual wire”. Rules are set up on the firewalls on both ends to handle the new traffic. On the client VLAN side, firewall 2311 dynamically adds a virtual port to itself and maps the port in a network address table within client firewall 2311. If a client wishes to share resources from more than one location, multiple optional ports may be added. In this situation, the firewall must be temporarily shutdown to make the configuration.